6 Fantasy Short Story Writing MISTAKES TO AVOID!

Hello fantasy writing family!

Want to make sure you’re writing your short stories for optimal reader enjoyment?

In this video I will point out 6 fantasy short story writing mistakes to avoid so you write your best short story yet!

These 6 mistakes I’m about to share are what I’ve learned over my 20 years of writing. Knowing to avoid them has helped make me become a better writer.

Let’s dive in!

And as always, for the best fantasy writing advice, subscribe to my channel (Abby Arthur) and hit the bell to be notified when I post a new video every Tuesday.

Mistake to Avoid #1 A LENGTHY INTRO.

If you’ve been around the writing development world for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard that long, drawn out intros do not cut it for novels in today’s writing age.

You’re supposed to get right into setting up the plot, or as I like to think of it, “showing the reader why they should care about your character.”

For the short stories of today, I find this advice to be even more true. You have even less time than a novel to set up your short story’s plot.

So, what would take five pages to make a beautiful intro in a novel will take takes two to five paragraphs in a short story.

Don’t be shocked. It’s the beauty of short stories. Once you master the quick and intriguing short story intros, you’ll realize novel intros are a synch!

Once you master the quick and intriguing short story intros, you’ll realize novel intros are a synch!

Once you master the quick and intriguing short story intros, you’ll realize novel intros are a synch!

Bottom line, make your intro gripping, intriguing, and magical, and leave the long, boring intro slain in the battlefield to rot.


A conflict makes a story interesting. But if you have too many conflicts going on, your story will become muddy and hard to follow.

Less is more in a short story, so choose one massive conflict, and write your short story about that!

If you’re curious about how to find your massive conflict, I explained more about it in my 4 Easy Short Story Writing Tips video. So go check that out!

Mistake to Avoid #3 EXCESSIVE DIALOGUE, epically during a fight scene.

Oh, the dialogue.

Some people love it, some people hate it. I gotta say, I’m a lover…

Because when you get it right, your story feels so well rounded and gorgeous that you just want to read it again and again!

But, too much dialogue, and readers get annoyed.

Like anything, in a short story, less is more. ONLY give your readers the bear minimum of what they need to understand your story and the direction it is going.

Fluff isn’t necessary.

The key to better dialogue is to first know your character inside and out.

The key to better dialogue is to first know your character inside and out.

Are they sarcastic, kind, rude, bubbly?

This will dictate how they speak, and therefore, help make your dialogue intriguing.

Bonus Tip* Don’t feel chained when you’re writing your first draft.

It’s good to know what you’re shorting for, but don’t let the need to be “short” put you in a box.

Let your inner writer work his or her magic. Then you can cut and refine the dialogue in the second draft.

If dialogue is your weakness, use your second draft to analyze what you’ve written and ask yourself, “Can my character say this better?” and “Is their comments even necessary?”

The sharper the dialogue, the better.

Mistake to Avoid #4 CLICHÉ CHARACTERS

Is there a time and a place for a cliché character? Arguably…Sure.

But if you’re goal is to write the best short story YOU’VE ever written, then leave that cliché character idea stabbed in the heart to die!

If you chose a prince, give him a trait that you’ve never seen in the books you’ve read.

If you chose a prince, give him a trait that you’ve never seen in the books you’ve read.

If you have a warrior princess, what makes her different than all the other princesses we’ve read about.

Note that I’m NOT saying DO NOT write about a prince or a warrior princess. (There’s no 100% original idea in the writing world, as we all eventually come to know.) I’m simply saying, don’t repeat what you’ve read or watched in a bunch of stories before.

Talk to your writing friends, your inner writer, and your muse about your character idea, and if it ends up being a cliché (like a damsel in distress who needs to be saved by a prince) how can you put a twist on that idea to make your story SWASHBUCKLING AWESOME!

On that note, what fantasy character type is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below!

I gotta say I’m a sucker for the handsome warrior guy. He can be a prince, but doesn’t have to be. Handsome warrior guy is my thing!

Mistake to Avoid #5 TOO PREDICABLE

It’s too easy to write a story that is obvious.

Have some fun with your story writing by give your readers the story they want, but in a way they don’t expect.

Keep your reader on their toes, and they will want to keep reading.

Mistake to Avoid #6 A “GOD” SOLVES THE PROBLEM

Don’t ever put your characters through hell, and then have your worlds god figure swoop in and make all the wrongs right.

We work hard to put our characters through hell. They need to work hard to get out of that hell, or all our effort was pointless.

The whole reason your reader is rooting for the character is because they want to see the character save themselves.

You can have a guide help, (In fact that’s probably expected) just don’t let the guide do all the work.

You’re reader will feel betrayed, and that’s the last thing we want!


There you have it, my 6 Fantasy Short Story Writing Mistakes to Avoid!

If they’ve helped inspire you in any way, tell me in the comments below! And share this post with your writing friends!

On a side note, be sure to get yourself a copy of my book, Twins of Shadows, which is three short stories made into one novella.

Use it as inspiration for your own short stories and enjoy your fantasy writing journey. You can download the book for free on my web site, AbbyArthur.com. A link is also in the description below.

If you liked this video, hit that like button, and be sure to subscribe so you never miss a new video from me!

And I’ll see you in the next post!


Abby writes YA fantasy for readers who love staring evil in the face, who wish to slay it with a glowing sword, and do it with a kick-ass lead you won’t forget. With over 20 years of writing experience, it’s her pleasure to take you to a world with magic, villains, and heroes you will love in a realm you won't want to leave. Join her VIP mailing list and get “Once Upon an Awkward Moment” FREE by clicking =>Here Now!.

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